I was sent a link to an article yesterday about one of our alumnae, Lindsay Schneider (’13, MAEd ’16). She had been a Wake Forest Fellow in the Office of the Dean of the College. I knew her by face, and probably from some meetings, but she wasn’t someone I knew well at all.
She went on to get her teaching certification here at Wake Forest. The N.C. English Teachers Association named her its Student Teacher of the Year, and she is currently teaching high school locally.
This is a wonderful article to read for a lot of reasons, but I hope you will read it and hear what Lindsay is saying about how she teaches and why she teaches the way she does. She talks about the ways her Wake Forest professors shaped her experience. Here are a few excerpts:
“At West Forsyth, English teacher Lindsay Schneider starts each of her classes by inviting students to share their good news….When Schneider was in graduate school at Wake Forest University, one of her professors opened each class that way and, now that she is in her first year as a teacher, she has found it a valuable practice.
‘I start with this for several reasons: it is something the students have expressed they enjoy and it allows them to get some talking out before class starts. In a way, it lets everyone get settled into the classroom and class. It has been a way to build community and camaraderie amongst the class and to celebrate each other’s successes.'”
She also pays attention to character and goodness:
“In a couple of instances [of students sharing ideas in class], someone said something unkind in passing. In no instance, did Schneider let such a comment pass.
‘Be respectful to others,’ she said at one point.
Later, she said that she thinks helping students develop as people is an important aspect of what she does as a teacher.
‘I care about who they are as people,’ Schneider said.”
She even brings a broad-based, liberal arts type mindset into her teaching:
“Her teaching strategy also includes lots of writing. “I am very passionate about teaching writing,” she said. “I want them to write because they have something to say.”
…And she thinks it’s important to incorporate the arts into her classes.
“I feel very strongly and have done much research on the benefits of bringing the visual arts, music, and creativity into the classroom and have students create and work with art, typically, on a weekly basis,” she said.
Reading this, I feel like a really proud mom, though she is not my own kid. I am proud that she is taking the best of what she got in the classroom from our WFU faculty and emulating that in her own job – the personal touch, the caring for others, the emphasis on community and on honor. Our faculty give so much to our students – things it is sometimes hard to see or quantify – but the lessons last.
I love that she is emphasizing writing so much. All our Wake students learn to write (and write well) because no matter their major or eventual job, strong critical thinking and the ability to express thoughts logically and persuasively will be a competitive advantage for the rest of their lives. (At least I think so). And for her to replicate the kind of liberal arts exposure in her classroom also is a nod to what our own faculty do.
As an academic adviser (and an unoffical consultant to many other students) it is a real pleasure to be able to watch students learn and grow here. There is a tremendous difference in maturity from the time they start here and the time they graduate.
My view is largely limited to what I see here while they are students. This article is a nice way to see at least one example of what a student has learned at WFU and how she has used that knowledge for good in the next phase of her life.
With your own students, you have seen (upperclassmen) or will see (new parents) this same kind of growing and blossoming as they progress through Wake. And though I won’t get to see them past graduation, I’d lay a fiver on the notion that your students’ stories will be just as compelling as Lindsay’s in their own way.
Proud parents everywhere, unite!